Sand Lake loses its police department because of funding issues

Posted at 11:22 PM, Mar 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-25 15:19:16-04

SAND LAKE, Mich. -- In news that comes as a shock to some residents, Sand Lake no longer has a local police department due to funding issues.

"The officer presence of the local department will be missed," Scott Shaw, former Sand Lake Police Officer tells FOX 17.

The village council voted to suspend department operations for the tight-knit community of just over 600 people. Some are content with the change, others say the local officers served a vital purpose.

"It's a part time department but they're good at addressing local issues something that we don't get a lot of attention for," David Dewey, a resident of Sand Lake, told our Candese Charles.

While the Department of Justice shows small police departments are in decline over the years, Officer Scott Shaw will be missed by the locals.

Cost of running the facility was around $60, 000 per year, and the amount of good cutting the department will do to help save the village budget is not something Dewey is taking lightly. "The way that people want to continue spending money that 60 thousand dollars will be gone and once that money is spent what do you cut next?"

Many residents found out about the closure of the department via Facebook, plenty of them leaving comments asking why they were not notified before the vote at Monday's Village Council meeting.

"I was a little bit surprised that they had taken this decision." says Christopher Stieg of Sand Lake. "I agree with it. But I wish they had given at least a 30 day notice or something,"

The Kent County Sheriff's Department will take over coverage of the area, telling FOX 17 in a statement, "We don't expect and interruption in emergency response to the village as the work through this decision," adding that "They have always been responsible to the village when they weren't on duty."

"In a town this small  we probably don't have that much of a need for a police force and the protection that the county supplies is probably sufficient," Stieg says.

Dewey has a different take. "If they call the sheriff's department if they come, they come, and that doesn't sound like very adequate protection myself,"

Members of the village council contacted for this article declined comment, and many residents were willing to speak off camera about starting a petition to get the department reinstated. While Shaw says the suspension is indefinite for now, the village will be revisiting the issue at their next meeting on April 15th.